Tuesday, 27 October 2009

The darned laptop

Very tired and frustrated after an appallingly bad night’s sleep. My dear, ancient, antiquated laptop had a seizure last night and I’m not at all sure if it will be okay tonight. I’m going to go home after work and try switching it on, and see what happens. But it went so completely haywire yesterday – and in ways that I haven’t seen before – that I am seriously worried about it.

I had been writing for several hours, and was just going to back up what I’d been doing onto a disc, for safety – but the disc wouldn’t read. Then the next one wouldn’t, and nor would the one after that. All of them were discs I have used before, that in theory still had plenty of space on them. Then the machine decided to “rescue” the entire contents of one of the discs, without my asking it to do anything of the kind. It started making a horrendous roaring noise, and went on doing so for about twenty minutes while very, very slowly copying the disc onto the hard drive.

Then it wouldn’t shut down. In the end I just unplugged it, which is not a good thing to do at all; but the alternative was to leave it running all night, chirruping and clicking to itself at intervals, and getting hot (it gets very hot – it’s an antique, as I said). I knew I’d never sleep if I did that; so I crashed out of it instead. And then, of course, I didn’t sleep anyway.

Once I was well stuck in to the White Night thing, I began to sweat my way through a whole raft of minor concerns and worries, all of which at dead of night seemed disproportionately looming and monstrous. Would K be okay in her new flat? And has she got any bedding? – How is mum getting on as she gets over that mysterious bout of food poisoning, and should I have rung her more often, and would it help if I were to go down to Kent this weekend to see her? – Is P okay, after that odd reference to having “work done on the guts”? - Will I be able to afford the next gas bill? - Did I remember to put a stamp on that letter? – Did I remember to put my credit card details on that booking form? – Have I ever given the WWT my new address? – Have I ever given the Inland Revenue my new address? (I know I have, but once one is set on an all-night worry-fest one can get very bogged down in these irrational fears).

And, of course, round and round came the refrain – What if the laptop is permanently deaded, and everything I have on it is lost? I know I am not up to date in my backing-up-on-disc. That’s what I was trying to do last night, when it went kaput, krank unt möglich todt bin ich, bleaahh…

Woe’s me, woe’s me, I have been seduced by technology, and now it has shot me down. It was my man, but it done me wrong.

I never should have stopped writing in longhand on paper. It’s slower, true, and it has to be typed up afterwards, which is boring; but it is secure. I don’t lose sheets of paper, and they are unable to lose themselves spontaneously. The computer may facilitate, but when it goes wrong it causes far more trouble than my nerves can stand.

4 comments:

Jules said...

If it is dead it's still usually possible to recover your files from the harddrive - you say it's antique but which model? I have an external housing that may fit it, if the worst comes to the worst we could give that a go.

Keep forgetting to give Jeff the spoon by the way, sorry!

Imogen said...

I couldn't tell you what model the laptop is, I'm afraid, as rather like cars I don't pay attention to these things. It runs something called Windows NT, and I think it's about twelve or thirteen years old. If retrieval of files from the hard disc is possible I'll be a happy bunny. But all the other fits, seizures, coronarys etc it has had so far in its long and strange life have turned out to be 24-hour flu instead; so I won't give up hope until I've tried to turn it on tonight.

No sweat about the spoon!
"Forgetting to give Jeff the spoon" sounds as if it might be kind of kinky... Like a line from the Oath of the Athenian Wiomen in "Lysistrata": "I will not stretch my feet towards the ceiling, nor will I take up the posture of the lioness on the knife handle..."

Jules said...

It doean't have any kind of brand (dell or something) or any serial numbers written on it anywhere does it, maybe on the bottom, above the keyboard or beside the screen? Basically if I get this I can look up how many pins the hard drive connection has and find out whether I can stick it in my housing (which also sound like a dodgy sexual practice)

Imogen said...

I'll take a look tonight and get back to you...